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Centrino 2 laptops launching next week

Intel prepares first major Centrino upgrade

The first major update to Intel's Centrino since 2003 is set for release next week, with the new Centrino 2 platform boosting performance and bringing faster wireless access to laptops.

Centrino 2 will include Core 2 Duo chips running between 2.26GHz and 3.06GHz, and all major laptop vendors are expected to launch models featuring the platform. Both Acer and Lenovo have scheduled press conferences in London next week to showcase their new systems.

As well as the faster processors, Centrino 2 will support the next-generation Wi-Fi standard – 802.11n – together with WiMax, allowing laptop users to connect at high speed in areas covered by those networks. However, those using Centrino 2 laptops in the UK are unlikely to benefit from the WiMax support as few areas offer the service.

Another benefit of the new platform is improved graphics. Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst at Insight 64, said the new GM45 integrated graphics card supports DirectX 10 to handle 3D graphics and high-definition content. It also is capable of offloading the processor by taking on heavier graphics loads.

"You have enough power... to watch a Blu-ray movie before the battery dies. If you had Blu-ray in previous notebooks, the battery would give out before the movie got interesting," Brookwood said.

Check PC Advisor's Reviews section from next week for the first reviews of Centrino 2 laptops.

With additional reporting from Agam Shah


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